Jesus Christ: Teacher

400-a-teacher After thinking about it a little bit, I’ve decided that I’d like to start this post series by looking at some of the titles used to refer to Jesus and then look at things we can learn from his life and teachings.

I have chosen the title of “Teacher” first, because of an article I recently read in a church magazine, “Tutored by the Lord.”

I think it resonated because I have gone through the experience of muscial study, and know the difference between group instruction and private instruction — as well as private, personal study.

In the church, we have the opportunity for group instruction regularly. We can trust that those authorized to speak to us and teach us in sacrament meetings, Sunday School, Priesthood, and Auxiliary meetings have been duly authorized to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and convey sacred messages to us as if we were receiving them from the Lord himself. The promise is of even greater weight during stake and general conference.

But, if we want greater light and knowledge that applies specifically to us, we have to seek the Lord personally — like Nicodemus in the New Testament. We need to take our questions to Him in sacred, reverent prayer. We need to seek his answers from canonized scripture as well as seeking current counsel from conference talks. We need to listen for the Holy Spirit to whisper to our hearts and minds in ways that provide the answers we are seeking.

Paul H. Dunn, “What is a Teacher?”:

As I was looking for more resources for this post, I came across an older conference talk. Although Elder Dunn was attempting to instruct us on becoming proper teachers, I think I can legitimately apply these characteristics to show how Christ is the Master Teacher.

  • The teacher is a prophet. He lays the foundation of tomorrow.”
    • As Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Savior lovingly instituted a set of laws and worship that required daily tasks to school his people toward greater faith in him. While it was a loss, it was also a blessing — the people were not ready for laws and commandments more focused on inward character and spirituality.
    • In the New Testament, the Savior laid the foundation of his church, even though he knew there would be a Great Apostasy. The resulting scriptures carried civilization forward during those dark times.
    • When the world was more ready and the time was right, the Lord called and tutored a young prophet, Joseph Smith, to reestablish the fullness of this gospel, restore those things that had been lost, and to prepare the world for his Second Coming.
  • The teacher is an artist. He works with the precious clay of unfolding personality.”
    • Every teaching, every commandment given or spoken by the Savior has the goal of helping us develop character worthy of returning to Heavenly Father.
  • The teacher is a friend. His heart responds to the faith and devotion of his students.”
    • In the New World, when the people longed for him to stay, he stayed longer — healing the sick and blessing the children.
    • Today, we are promised that if we draw near unto the Savior, he will draw near to us. (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:63.) We are promised help to become like Christ. We know  that we get credit for the pure intent of our hearts, even when we fall short of our goals.
  • The teacher is a citizen. He is selected and licensed for the improvement of society.”
    • The Savior improves society by improving the hearts and minds of his true disciples.
  • The teacher is an interpreter. Out of his mature and wider life, he seeks to guide the young.”
    • The Savior gave us commandments to guide us back to Heavenly Father. Because he knows the things of eternity, he guides us now through spiritual impressions, prophets, and scriptures. Because he suffered for all in the garden of Gethsemane, he knows how to reach each and every one of us on a personal level.
  • The teacher is a builder. He works with the higher and finer values of civilization.”
    • The Savior consistently condemns anything harmful to us and anything that would weaken our abilities to be guided by the Spirit or to become as he is.
    • Even so, he has always gently called anyone willing to come and partake of the goodness of his love and his way of life.
  • The teacher is a culture-bearer. He leads the way toward worthier tastes, saner attitudes, more gracious manners, higher intelligence.”
    • The Savior embodied every perfect principle that he taught and invites us to do the same.
  • The teacher is a planner. He sees the young lives before him as a part of great system that shall grow stronger in the light of truth.”
    • The Savior is the author and finisher of our faith, and the key figure throughout the entire Plan of Salvation, also known as the Plan of Happiness.
  • The teacher is a pioneer. He is always interpreting and attempting the impossible, and usually winning out.”
    • Only the Savior could complete the Atonement and redeem us from our sins. With his resurrection, he sealed his victory over death and the grave in our behalf.
  • The teacher is a reformer. He seeks to improve the handicaps that weaken and destroy life.”
    • We have been repeatedly told and I have seen the same play out repeatedly in my life: the commandments are given in love and are protections rather than restrictions. Obedience brings amazing blessings.
  • The teacher is a believer. He has an abiding faith in God and in the improvability of the race. It was James Truslow Adams who said, “There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.”
    • The whole purpose in the Savior’s life was to teach us and to give us the aid we need to live the best life possible: a life worthy of eternal glory.

Further Reading:

Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher

“A Teacher Come From God”